Lawyers representing Beiersdorf and Unilever have been fighting a legal battle in Germany over who has the right to use a dark blue colour on their corporate branding and packaging.
Beiersdorf, manufacturer of Nivea, registered a trademark in 2013, which included exclusive use of dark blue on its corporate branding. Yet in an October 2013 ruling, the Federal Patent Court upheld a claim by Unilever, parent company of Dove, that it too should have the right to package its products using the same shade of blue as Nivea.
At the time, the Federal Patent Court stated that the shade of blue could only be registered as an identifying feature if 75 percent of the German public automatically assumed a container in that blue must contain a Nivea product. A survey found that only 57.9 percent felt this way.
Beiersdorf lawyers returned to court on Thursday April 2 to appeal against the court’s decision in 2013.
Wolfgang Buescher, chairing a panel of five judges, said one issue at trial was whether “the federal patent court set a standard that is too strict.”
“At my age, one knows Nivea’s blue tin with the white writing very well and knows there is lotion inside,” he added.
The court is due to reach a verdict on June 9.